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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bazooka Joe Gets A Facelift

I am always fascinated with brand archeology and their renovations+updates, particularly of their aging character icons. Some of the euros here may not be familiar with Bazooka Joe (short version: utterly useless+nasty 1cent gum wrapped with cartoon strip adventures -

But something about this update seems a bit overly strategized and bordering on cheezy - particularly with his new "female environmentalist friend Cindy", and his gnarly "guitar-weilding German exchange student friend Wolfgang". I think this stage of development is referred to as "jumping the shark".

Bazooka Joe holds no heartfelt place with me that demands sticking to the past, but I am always concerned about most branded attempts at youth contemporization. I mean those unnecessary "Fo'shizzle" slang cliches and ball caps turned backward skaters breakdancing and holding drink packs and being generally "in your face" with their young attitude and carefree "you can't categorize me" spirit. I don't think most youth are so dumb as the average snack-pack ad seems to image them. But I could be wrong.

Article highlights from Boston Herald:

The eternal kid is getting a fresh look as executives plan a $4 million relaunch of the iconic brand in an effort to entice a new generation of bubble gum chewers. Next month new Bazooka Joe products will hit store shelves. Everything from the bubble making capacity of the gum to the comic strip wrappers are being retooled.

The eye patch wearing Bazooka Joe will look modernized with wilder hair and ripped jeans. In the comics, Joe will run with a new gang, including female environmentalist Cindy Lewis and guitar wielding German exchange student Wolfgang Spreckles.

Topps faces the challenge of maintaining Bazooka Joe’s nostalgia inspiring feel among adults, while appealing to a younger market of hip-kid consumers.

“We would hate to tear down what is a tremendous equity,” said Paul Cherrie, managing director at The Topps Co., which owns the Bazooka Joe brand. “But clearly we do want a freshness to go forward with kids.”


Here is an interesting compile of Bazooka Joe comics arranged by their subliminal social message themes here


Mnels said...

Looks more like a modern day "Archie". Where's Veronica? I guess it could be worse. They could have re-imaged him as '9mm' Joe and his ho Britnee and best thug pal "82 cent". He was kicked out of Riverdale high and open-enrolled at 9 Mile High where he can be closer to his latest quest, getting a date with Paris BudgetInn. This could work.

Anonymous said...

Even his eye patch is cocked at a cooler angle. (From what I understand, he lost that eye in a gun fight with his bitter rivals, the Doublemint Twins.)